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Lowry's 'Yachts at Lytham St Annes'

5th March 2021.

L.S. Lowry’s ‘Yachts at Lytham St Annes’ is a set to star in the British, European and Sporting Art Sale at Tennants Auctioneers on 20th March, being offered with an estimate of £250,000-350,000 (plus buyer’s premium). Lowry had a lifelong fascination with the sea and sketched and painted seascapes throughout his long career. Juxtaposed with his bustling industrial scenes filled with scurrying figures, Lowry’s seascapes are imbued with a sense of calm and nostalgia for childhood holidays on the North West coast. Indeed, the artist’s mother, who never liked his industrial work, only once voiced any praise for a painting - another scene of boats at Lytham that Lowry was to hang in his bedroom for the rest of his life. The painting exemplifies Lowry’s masterly use of flake-white, here employed as both sea and sky merging into one; the boats providing notes of colour and movement against the shimmering, light-filled sea.

A further coastal scene by renowned ornithological artist Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935) depicts sea birds feeding on the shoreline (estimate: £25,000-35,000). Thorburn is famed for his detailed and naturalistic depictions of the wildlife of the British Isles, set in natural habitats. Signed and dated 1908 ‘Sea Birds’ renders in watercolour curlews, black headed gulls, herring gulls, terns, oyster catchers, redshanks and ringed plovers.

Further highlights in the sale include a group portrait by sporting artist John Dalby of York (1810-1865) of the celebrated hunting figures Lord Durham, Ralph Lambton and Billy Williamson riding to a meet (estimate: £3,000-5,000). ‘The Old Garden’ by Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970), which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1965 is offered with an estimate of £3,000-4,000, and a majestic view of ‘Glencoe’ by Alfred de Breanski Snr (1852-1928) is offered with an estimate of £6,000-9,000.

A further selection of paintings from Forcett Hall, North Yorkshire will be sold on Day 1 of Tennants Spring Sale on 19th March. Highlights include ‘Returning with the catch’ by John Thomas Hamilton McCallum (1841-1896) (estimate: £4,000-6,000), and ‘Portrait of the three children of Sir John Heathcote of Langton Hall’ by a Follower of George Romney (1734-1802) (estimate: £2,500-4,000).

Also on offer is a newly discovered drawing by Augustus John of his mistress and muse Dorelia (estimate: £7,000-10,000 plus buyer’s premium). Augustus John (1878-1961) was regarded as one of the finest artists and the pre-eminent society portraitist of his day. Poetic and impressionistic, John’s inciteful portraits capture the spirit of the age and the bohemian circles in which he mixed. The drawing is being sold from a Private Collection. John was introduced to Dorothy ‘Dorelia’ McNeill by his sister and fellow artist Gwen John in 1903, and she was to become first his model, then his mistress who lived with John and his wife Ida Nettleship. Following Ida’s death in 1907, she became John’s common law wife and by the time she died in 1969 had long been known as ‘Mrs John’. Dorelia became an icon of bohemian fashion and was the subject of many of John’s most inciteful and personal paintings. The present drawing, executed in broad strokes of charcoal on buff paper, dates from circa 1903-05 at the start of their long relationship.

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